Where Do You Live – Past, Present, Or Future?

What does your past have in common with Jimmy Hoffa? They are both dead!

I have a dear friend who is agonizing over a decision he made several weeks ago. He had to fire someone. It was a good decision, and one that was actually necessary to preserve his own integrity in his business. The person was being paid a high salary, and with that comes responsibility for leadership and willingness to learn new things (especially since it was a position in information technology.) But this person refused to learn anything new. He wanted to show up every day and do the same things he always did. He also had to be spoon-fed assignments. While he was supposed to be my friend’s backup, he showed no leadership potential nor desire to develop it. And, he was using company time to do his side job.

So why is my friend suffering over this? He is a good person, and he thinks he hurt the person he fired. The truth is, he did this guy a favor by giving him a wake-up call. But my real point is this:

What possible benefit do we get from reliving the past? None! After we accept any lesson we needed to learn, it is time to move on. Driving with your eyes on the rear view mirror is dangerous!

That being said, we need a healthy balance between:

Visualizing our future
Living in the present, to take action
In “Think And Grow Rich” Napoleon Hill’s Self Confidence Formula challenges you to spend 30 minutes daily thinking about the person you want to become. But he also says to transform that picture into reality through practical service and to spend 10 minutes daily to develop the factors named in his “The Law of Success” book. One of the principles he teaches is that you need definite plans and you need to put them into action. But without the visualization of where you are trying to go, “any road will do.”

I personally believe some of us spend too much time in the past because we are afraid to move forward. We think if we keep going over what already happened, the success formula for the future will become evident. But it doesn’t work that way. We need to decide where we want to go, and let the Universe show the way.

Setting forth bold intentions and burning the bridges of escape, as Mr. Hill teaches, is very scary! And yet he also teaches us that temporary defeat is to be expected and accepted. There is no reason to fear temporary defeat, as long as it is temporary. The point is to persist and never give up on that burning desire you create in your mind.

Spend just enough time in the future to know what it looks like, and reflect on it daily. But don’t spend all day visualizing! Once the picture is clear each day, live in the present and use all of your senses to get the messages the Universe sends you about the correct actions to take.

And remember, as Mr. Hill teaches, “Through the principle of auto-suggestion, any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of realizing it.”

Presentations – Lessons Learned (at School)

In fact this article is a preparation for a next article on the same topic; one that is actually still due.

We are to absorb so much knowledge that we tend to forget what we have learned when we where still at school. Maybe you remember the time when you where asked to read out loud in front of the class.

“Period.”

This period is key. Not only when reading a text, but also when presenting the kind of material in front of a group of people. The technique is the same. You stop because the action has ended end you are stepping into a new area. The period is there to signal this for you as a reader, but in the presentation you are to use this as a pause to check whether your public (readers) is still with you. It serves as a turning point (or a hinge) to turn the past in to the future. The period shows what is done. Up to the next phrase or picture, unless…

Unless there is a problem. That is what you hope for giving a presentation (not always probably), but you would like to interact with the audience, because without feedback you cannot tell whether the story has landed safely.

If nobody argues, then you can continue.
The pause should also give you confidence knowing that what you are presenting is relevant and valuable and maybe passed to your audience.

Before we knew how to read properly, we forgot to wait for the traffic lights; we skipped the full stop and headed to the next sentence. But once we were confident in reading out loud we stopped, waiting for the next action.

We tend to forget these simple things from the past. Or maybe, when we forget to use a pause in the presentation, we are not confident enough.

Perhaps that is the first step before presenting the material – to gain faith in what we will offer.

© 2006 Hans Bool

PS: The article that is still due is part two of – Models that color your presentation. This has been quite a while. This brings me “lessons learnt” – do not pause too long.

The Effects of Pollution May Be Present in Clinical Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

The notion that an individual can develop maladies as the result of a number of chemicals present in the environment even at very low levels of concentration has been a societal concern since the dawning of an awareness of pollution as a detriment to the environment. Our collective consciousness began to identify the effects of the industrial waste created as a byproduct of manufacturing and urban living long ago. In recent times, the emergence of a collection of symptoms attributed to environmental exposure called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity has divided medical science.

The burning of coal has resulted in the development of smog and fouled the air since as early as 1,000 years ago. King Henry I of Britain famously threatened London residents with severe punishment for burning sea coal but his and ensuing leadership efforts to curb the burning of coal had little to no effect. This would be a trend of populations in denial of the effects of industrial progress until reality struck in the form of severe consequences that are controversial to this day.

America had problems as well due to coal burning, but with a larger area and a briefer history it would take a while for a national crisis to develop. Nevertheless, in 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania, deadly smog resulted in the asphyxiation of 20 people and illness of 7,000 more. Across the ocean in London, however, the infamous smog of 1952 killed as many as 4000 people in a matter of days, resulting predictably in political action taken to curb the emission of smoke from the burning of coal.

For America, one of its most famous innovations would become the central actor in propelling pollution to the forefront of societies problems; the automobile. It would take until the decade of the 60s before our collective attention was focused on the results of environmental pollution. A book documenting among other things the effect of an environmental pesticide ingredient known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, called DDT for short awakened a population to the danger of pollutants.

The use of pesticides laden with DDT could be shown to work its way through the ecosystem to the national symbol of America, the bald eagle. The national bird had endured decades of harassment by Americans and their wild population was rapidly diminishing in the 1930s resulting eventually in the passage of the Bald Eagle Protection Act which prohibited the killing, possession or commerce of the bird.

The impact of DDT on this bird of prey was twofold. It weakened the shell of its eggs to the point that the majority of them were crushed by the parents in their attempt to incubate them. At the same time, the level of DDT in the fatty tissue of dead Eagles revealed they had become sterile. This combination of effects logically led to the severe decrease in reproductive success of the animal and resulted in its drastic decline in wild population. The Bald Eagle was officially declared an endangered species in 1967, before the landmark endangered species act was enacted in 1973.

That the symbol of our nation could undergo such depredation both directly by those who considered them a threat to fisheries and as a secondary consequence of environmental pollution highlighted the problem of environmental neglect in America and across the globe. Some success has been recorded, with the Bald Eagle being one of them, their population having recovered to the point that they were officially removed from the endangered species list on June 28, 2007. Unfortunately, the eagle is one of few creatures that have fought their way back and off the list.

The impact of pollution to our environment leads one to question its impact on people. While the dramatic cases of London in 1952 and the Japan experience with cadmium poisoning, locally known as Itai Itai disease due to the extreme bone and joint pain associated with its presentation, the impact of pollution on humans is a concern not fully understood. One syndrome known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity may be the leading edge of an awareness of pollutions insidious health effects on man.